Two programs at SIU-Carbondale that help students with leadership and career awareness are once again getting financial support from AT&T.
AT&T Illinois vice president Jim Maurer visited the Carbondale campus Thursday to deliver a 50-thousand dollar award for the Rising Scholars Program and Metro East Leadership Weekend.
Maurer told several of the students in the two programs that in this day of social media, personal connections are still vital in finding a job after graduation.
"You can be the smartest person on paper that you can be. But, if you don't take the opportunity to shake hands with folks, good eye contact and let them know that you're a human being, you're selling yourself short."
Linda Renee Baker of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute leads the Metro East Leadership Weekend. She echoed Maurer's comments on the importance of personal contacts.
"People do business with people they know. People hire people that they know often times. Maybe, with your teachers and people that you're meeting, make sure that you keep names of people; make sure that you try to make a good impression."
Renada Greer oversees the Saluki Summer Bridge to Success program. She says the most important part of the program is that it requires students to be accountable.
"Academic monitoring. The one-on-one counseling that we're able to do with our students. We hire mentors that are constantly in contact with our students throughout the academic year. It really helps us to mitigate circumstances that would normally cause students to maybe leave the institution."
Sophomore pre-med student Tori Rhone says the Saluki Bridge to Success program the summer before her freshman year helped her immensely.
"When classes started I was easily adjusted. I was able to know where I was going and my time management was good and everything like that."
Greer says 89-percent of Summer Bridge students re-enroll for their second semester and 82-percent re-enroll for their second academic year. She says both rates exceed what the university achieves overall.
AT&T's latest contribution brings the corporation's total investment in the SIU-C programs to 250-thousand dollars over four years.